July 24, 2014
A competitor to the Panama Canal to be built in nearby Nicaragua is worrisome not for its dubious economics but rather its builder: China will construct the massive, 172-mile waterway at a cost of $40 billion, while Russia will provide security during the years-long project, all in an area considered by the United States to be its continental backyard.
China Plants Flag in US Backyard With Canal Contract
In this June 14, 2013 file photo, President Daniel Ortega, left, and Chinese businessman Wang Jing agree to the construction of a multibillion-dollar canal at the Casa de los Pueblos in Managua. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix, File)
Israel Presses Gaza Offensive, Undeterred by Negative Press
July 24, 2014
SITUATION REPORT

Despite ongoing peace efforts and growing international criticism of Israel’s invasion of Gaza, Israeli officials seem in no hurry to end their Gaza operation in light of the large number of tunnels and weapons uncovered over the past five days. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday emphasized the need for Hamas to end the conflict, a shift from controversial comments made over the past few days that were critical of Israel for the Gaza invasion.

Amid Chaos, Libyan Hopes for Stability Fading Fast
July 23, 2014
As Libyans anxiously await election results, rising chaos threatens to make the political outcomes moot. The country’s three major airports are shut and a rogue offensive by the Libyan military to drive Islamic militias from Benghazi appears to be running out of steam.
Deadly Ebola Risk Compounded by US Lab Mishaps
July 22, 2014
Ebola, a nightmarish pathogen with a potential mortality rate of up to 90 percent, has regained a footing in West Africa, forcing public health officials to scramble to contain its spread. Should a strain of Ebola become airborne the future death toll may be incalculable, a risk compounded by recent news of handling mishaps at a U.S. lab that caused workers to be exposed to anthrax.
‘Chocolate King’ Guides Ukraine in Greatest Test Since Cold War
July 22, 2014
Elected Ukraine’s fifth president in late May, Petro Poroshenko arrived in office amid a crisis that could destroy his country. Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimea has triggered a separatist movement, aided by Russia, that could permanently divide Ukraine. The crisis is far from resolved, and Russia could attempt to take other parts of the country by force.
London Sidesteps EU Bid to Police Currency Markets
July 22, 2014
In a further sign of London distancing itself from Brussels, the UK will not join an EU-wide effort to police currency market manipulation, such as led to the recent scandals over the Libor interest rate and global exchange rates, each affecting trillions in securities. Citing the size and importance of London’s financial markets, Britain instead will set up its own regulatory program.
Hamas Leverages War for World Support, Political Survival
July 21, 2014
SITUATION REPORT

As the death toll from the fighting in the Gaza Strip shoots higher, neither Israel nor Hamas is showing any sign of softening. Israel remains determined to eradicate Hamas weapons stockpiles and destroy its smuggling tunnels, while Hamas continues to reject any talk of a truce that fails to grant it concessions.
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